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To Heal Inner Wounds

Author Interview

Sara Gelbard Author Interview

The Sound of Her Voice is an emotional and inspirational story of your life and all the obstacles you’ve overcome. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I was inspired to write The Sound of Her Voice by an inner longing to heal and find that inner voice that was never allowed to be heard when I was a child growing up on the Kibbutz. The book helped me confront and heal the pain of my childhood. I was also motivated to tell my story to help others confront their pain and learn how to heal.
The Sound of Her Voice is a story for anyone who has ever felt the need to heal inner wounds so they will be able to open their hearts and live life more fully.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were younger?

I grew up feeling very isolated and lonely. I would always wonder what was wrong with me that I felt that way. Later in my life a therapist told me “That’s what’s right with you – it is your sensitivity. You need to learn to believe in your own voice.” I wish someone had said that to me earlier in life.

What were some themes that were important for you to convey in this memoir?

Healing is so important. Without it you cannot open your heart to the vulnerabilities in life that are so intertwined with true feelings and living a full life. The impact of having to repress individuality and the self-expression of childhood left a lifelong impact on my ability to truly give voice to my inner feelings. When I reached the age of 70 and lived in peaceful Punta del Este in Uruguay with my husband, I was finally able to tell the story of the little girl who could not express her innermost fears and resentments. The beauty of Punta with its beaches, and the embracing and healing sea surrounding both sides of the town, somehow made her bubble up.

The healing also helped me to finally my home – both spiritually and physically. Growing up on the Kibbutz in the Children’s House left me with a yearning for a permanent home that provided the comfort of family and the solace of togetherness.

Is there anything that you see differently in your life now that you’ve had time to reflect and write this memoir?

Yes. My relationship with grief has changed. I now possess an inner peace that I didn’t have before the little girl in me was allowed to tell her story. Once I was able to get in touch with my grief and get past the denial that I carried throughout my life, I was able to forgive and truly understand my mother and what she must have gone through leaving her old life behind and raising a family in a new country with new rules.

I now have a more direct connection to grief and can accept it and work through its various stages. I recently lost my dog – the love of my life — which I would never have been able to accept and speak about before writing The Sound of Her Voice. And now, I have made room in my heart for a new dog.

I hope others who read my book will be able to confront their own inner grief and work through it the way I gradually let the little girl inside me express herself.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

A poetic and unusually constructed memoir, THE SOUND OF HER VOICE, is Sara Gelbard’s story of her experience growing up on one of the first kibbutzim in Israel and how she was forced to repress her individuality, and the self-expression of a normal childhood. This book sensitively follows her personal journey through life from Israel to New York and Uruguay, and gives voice to how she finally created a home for herself and in her heart, and healed what she lost.


Sara Gelbard is a woman of three homes – Israel, New York, and Punta del Este in Uruguay. This may be because she never had a home. She was born in one of the first Israeli kibbutzim in Western Galil near the Lebanon border, of Polish parents who escaped the tremendous horror of Europe. They escaped, but their families did not, and consequently, their commitment to the kibbutz was ideological, necessary, and fueled by a broken heart.

The first kibbutzim were the most stringent in their rules – mothers only allowed in at feeding times – and 24 children in each Children’s House, with only one circulating guardian at night. The children were taught to be little soldiers, and performed their duties, and needs and emotions were discouraged. For a sensitive individualistic person, like Sara, this became a burden that would later haunt her. She excelled in the kibbutz, in the Israeli army (in her case, becoming a Navy officer), at a Tel Aviv Movement and Dance School, and teaching at the College of Sde Boker (where Ben Gurion lived.) She excelled but carried a tremendous loneliness and sadness of having lived without real connection or having been given the gift of self-expression. The army offered more self-expression than the kibbutz. Even with her excelling at the kibbutz, she was denied by them her second year of college, because they deemed her too independent. With that, she left.

After the Six Day War, when all Israel was celebrating, Sara decided to enroll in the Martha Graham Dance School and moved to New York. There she went through the struggles of an immigrant with language, finding work, although she was helped by a dear friend also from Israel, and by a philosophical psychoanalyst who ran seminars on the interior life. This saved her and opened the inner life to her. She got her BA in Economics from Fordham, became a successful real estate broker, selling homes to others, which was a form of reparation. She married her Uruguayan husband (then in New York) who became her first “home.”

At seventy, she was walking in the beautiful Punta del Este, with its ocean on two sides, and that little girl’s voice, who never could be heard, or speak of what she felt, bubbled up. THE SOUND OF HER VOICE is Sara’s exploration of what it was like to live in this unfeeling world as a child, the healing in writing, what her three homes are to her, how marriage healed her, and, ultimately, how she came to understand and forgive how her mother could, in her way, give her away. Sara sprinkles her book with haikus that go to the heart of such a journey. The entire book speaks to all of us who have a voice inside us that must be listened to if we want to open our hearts.

The Sound of Her Voice

The Sound of Her Voice by Sara Gelbard is a memoir of the author and her experience growing up in unusual and dysfunctional circumstances.

Sara was born in Western Galil near the Lebanon border, her Polish parents had barely escaped the horrors of war in Europe and as a consequence became extremely loyal to the kibbutzim. Sara grew up in a children’s home where she received barely any affection and was forced to repress her emotions or signs of individuality. She soon enrolled into the Israeli army where she excelled in combat and strategy and eventually became a Navy Officer. This however, wasn’t enough for her as she suffered from the loneliness of living without human connection. With the help of her friends, she moved to New York where she studied dance, got a BA in economics, sold real estate, and married her beloved Uruguayan husband. At seventy years old as she walked the beautiful beaches of Punta del Este, Sara had an epiphany, as she came to terms with the sadness of her upbringing, confusion at being left by her mother, and discovered the repressed voice of the child she used to be so many years past.

The Sound of Her Voice is an evocative memoir following the personal story of a remarkable woman. Someone who was born and raised in the harshest of environments and who has overcome countless obstacles unimaginable to most. The inspiring story of Sara Gelbard alludes to the sensitivity of dealing with emotional trauma and overcoming the anger and frustration of being raised in the harshest of circumstances.

Beautifully written in a combination of simple prose and a series of haikus, The Sound of Her Voice is unconventional in the best possible way. This is a unique memoir that is a must read for anyone on their own journey of healing and self-discovery.

This is definitely one of the most inspiring and eye-opening books I have ever read so far this year. Going through an emotional awakening and dealing with childhood trauma myself, I was able to closely relate to the author’s views and to extract life changing lessons to apply in my daily life. However, it’s not necessarily for people with undealt emotions of hard upbringings, anyone who picks this book up will experience a shift in the mindset to start viewing life as it is.

The Sound of Her Voice is a beautiful story with a profound message. I highly recommend this emotionally charged memoir to anyone looking for a substantive life story that is awe-inspiring.

Pages: 157 | ASIN: B08P5H4ZK7

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